Image via Flickr user Kris Krug
They have calm, consistent morning routines.
Too many books and courses on personal success act like we’re robots, and completely overlook the enormous power of our emotions. The less frenzied emotions we have at the start of the day, the less we will have all day. Because when we start the day in a calm, mindful state, it’s easy to focus and get the right things done.
But when we wake up and stress is already upon us – phones ringing, emails and texts dinging, fire alarms going off – you spend the whole day reacting, instead of being proactive. This means you’re not in the driver’s seat working on your priorities – the things that drive success – you’re simply responding to what gets thrown at you, whether it’s important or not.
Try to have the first hour of your day vary as little as possible. A trusted routine can be extremely effective in helping you feel in control and non-reactive, which reduces anxiety and stress, and therefore makes you more mindful and competent. The bottom line is that how you start the day has an enormous effect on your overall effectiveness.
They eliminate all needless busywork.
At some point we all wonder, “Why is it so impossible to get everything done?” But the answer is stunningly simple: We’re doing too many of the wrong things.
Several research studies have shown that people never get more done by blindly working more hours on everything that comes up. Instead, they get more done when they follow careful plans that measure and track key priorities and milestones. So if you want to be more successful and less stressed, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first asked, “Do I need to do this at all?”
Simply being able to do something well does not make it the right thing to do. I think this is one of the most common problems with a lot of time-management advice; too often productivity gurus focus on how to do things quickly, but the vast majority of things people do quickly should not be done at all.
If you think about it, it’s actually kind of ironic that we complain we have so little time, and then we prioritize like time is infinite. So do your best to focus on what’s truly important, and not much else.
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